Publish date:

Boat Review: Lagoon 50

A game changer in every sense of the word

A game changer in every sense of the word

Anyone under the impression that change in today’s production catamarans is about little more than cosmetics needs to check out the Lagoon 50—an all-new design that went on to become the winner in the 40 to 50ft cruising multihull category in SAIL’s 2019 Best Boats awards.

Design & Construction

VPLP designed the Lagoon 50 along with Patrick Le Quement. Over the years, Lagoons have become more angular with hard lines to their transoms and a downward slope to the coachroof, which creates a perception of movement. At first glance, the wrap-around glazed vertical windows look continuous. But in fact, they’re made up of panels and provide a terrific view from inside. Weight has been kept low through the use of vacuum infusion, with balsa coring above the waterline and in the deck. Spars are aluminum, and the mast has been moved aft, which helps prevent hobby-horsing and gives the boat a shorter boom, thereby making the mainsail that much easier to handle, especially shorthanded.

On Deck

Where to start with a deck that’s been completely rethought? Let’s look at the aft end, which has been given a thorough makeover. First, the two steps from the transoms are nice and low, so making the transition to the cockpit is an especially easy one. Second, the hatches over the engine rooms now open up and aft, so checking the engine underway will keep you safe in the cockpit and not out on the steps. Third, two optional lockers can be added to either side of the transom seat: one to port for stowage and the other to starboard housing a grill that swivels out and over the transom steps to keep the smoke and heat out of the cockpit. Finally, the hydraulic swim platform forms a kind of teak “beach” that also carries the tender in a pair of chocks that flip down out of the way when not in use.

In the cockpit, the table to port folds in for a quick family breakfast or opens out to seat up to eight for dinner. There’s also an end seat that detaches and moves forward over the molded steps to make yet more room when the table is fully extended. To starboard is a twin lounge and an outdoor galley with a sink, a fridge, cutouts to hold bottles and a large countertop for food and cocktail prep.

To port, a series of steps leads from the cockpit up to the side deck and a well-equipped helm station. Here, a long bench seat accommodates the skipper and at least three companions. The angled dash is comprehensive, with a B&G multifunction display, wind instruments, autopilot and remote windlass control. Behind the bench seat is a triple-wide sun pad with moveable back and knee rests.

Three Harken winches manage all the lines via clutches, while three integrated sheet bins serve to collect the spaghetti. A drum to starboard manages the continuous traveler sheet. It’s electric, so you can handle the large mainsail in a blow with little effort.

From the helm, you can see the bows nicely, but as is the case with many cats, you’ll need an assistant or a camera when backing into a slip. The helm is on centerline, which means that if you drive sitting directly behind the wheel, you’ll be looking right into the mast. Most people will sit off to the side. A second set of steps to starboard leads down to the side deck. Both stairways could use some extra handholds for when the boat is bouncing along in a seaway.

The saloon features an absolutely magnificent settee

The saloon features an absolutely magnificent settee

Accommodations

Typically, the saloon on a cruising cat is ignored in all but inclement weather. However, the Lagoon 50 will make you rethink where to spend your time. The ultra-inviting settee, for example, stretches nearly full-beam. It also wraps around a table that folds out for dining, but then lowers away and articulates forward to create a cocktail lounge that faces aft toward a pop-up TV in the center console.

To starboard is a rather large nav desk with another B&G MFD, a second VHF radio and autopilot control, so on long passages, you can drive from inside. The galley is aft and split so that a meal can be prepared at the three-burner Eno stove while the sous chef preps hors d’oeuvres at the opposite counter, below which are two Isotherm refrigerators.

The master suite in the starboard hull is almost ridiculously large, with the entire length of the hull dedicated to the owner and his or her comfort. Even a landlubber would be happy to reside here. Aft to port is an island bed, with another double berth forward. Amidships on both sides are hanging lockers that are not only huge but have additional space behind them for storage of seldom-used items, like luggage or winter wear.

To starboard, the sliding door to the stateroom forms a bookcase, facing a large desk with a settee to one side. There’s also a walk-in closet, complete with three rows of drawers for stuff large and small. Above is a skylight to the saloon, and all around are fixed hull ports with opening insets and plenty of overhead hatches, so being inside the hull doesn’t feel like being buried in the bilge. This is by far the most comfortable stateroom on a production cat of this size I’ve seen, with more stowage than my bedroom at home.

In all, the Lagoon 50 is available with up to six cabins and six heads. The extra cabins are tucked forward and inboard in both hulls and in the case of the starboard side, one would replace that fabulous closet, a crime!

Under Sail

The Lagoon 50 provides 1,700ft of upwind sail area, including a standard full-batten mainsail and an 87 percent self-tacking jib. To help compensate for the aforementioned aft placement of the mast, which limits mainsail area, the boat has an air draft of 87ft, which allows the higher-aspect rig to capture the stronger winds aloft. The foretriangle, of course, is also made larger by this spar location. In lumpy seas and 12-16 knots of true breeze off Miami’s South Beach, we sailed 5.1 knots at 60 degrees off the wind, accelerating to 7.4 knots as we cracked off to 140 degrees.

The Lagoon 50 displaces nearly 46,000lb lightship, which is about in the ballpark for a production cat of this size. When she’s fully loaded, though, expect to add another 20,000lb. In other words, she’s not light, and to get the most out of her, you’ll want to opt for the Code 0, which during our test sail yielded 11.4 knots of boatspeed on a beam reach.

Under Power

The twin 80hp Yanmar diesels (standard is 57hp) with saildrives delivered 9.5 knots at 3,000 rpm. A more efficient, but still respectable cruising speed, can be found at 2,200 rpm and 7.5 knots. As is the case with all modern catamarans, by working the engines against one another the boat can be easily pivoted when slow-speed maneuvering.

Conclusion

In a world of incremental improvement, it’s nice to see what a clean sheet of paper can deliver. With all the thought-provoking features aboard its new 50-footer, Lagoon has truly changed the game and how we play it. 

LAG_50_PROFIL

LOA 48ft 5in LWL 46ft 11in Beam 26ft 7in Draft 4ft 7in Displacement 45,926lb (lightship) Sail Area 1,701ft Air Draft 87ft Fuel/Water (GAL) 274/126 Engine 2x 57hp. Yanmar SA/D Ratio 21 D/L Ratio 199 Designer Van Peteghem Lauriot Prevost (VPLP) Builder/U.S. Distributor Lagoon America, Annapolis, MD, cata-lagoon.com Price $665,000 (base) at time of publication.

MHS Winter 2018

Related

SamHolmes-2048x

Point of SAIL: Bluewater YouTuber Sam Holmes

In this episode of Point of SAIL, sponsored by West System Epoxy, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with Sam Holmes, a solo-sailor who has not only logged some serious bluewater miles but brought thousands of fans along for the ride through his many disarmingly unpretentious ...read more

01-LEAD-THN21-B0314timwilkes

Racing is Back

For all that the pandemic turned the world upside down, the summer of 2020 proved to be a surprisingly good one for sailing. Sales of boats—both new and used—went through the roof, and sailors everywhere found ways of getting out on the water, either alone or with friends and ...read more

05 Alex Thomson leans - credit ALEX THOMSON RACING copy

Alex Thomson Won’t Compete in Vendée Globe

Veteran British solo-sailor Alex Thomson has announced he won’t compete as a skipper in the 2024 Vendée Globe. However, he isn’t ruling out returning to the race in 2028. Thomson has competed in the IMOCA circuit for 19 years, including five successive Vendée Globe’s with two ...read more

Rob-Spets---10-19-21

Kiteboarder Sets New Jamestown Record

Rob Spets is the new record holder for the around-Jamestown circumnavigation aboard his foiling kiteboard Skellinger. His lap took 50 minutes and 48 seconds, improving the previous record set by Jason Carroll by 1 minute and 14 seconds. Spets completed the course in an 18-knot ...read more

03-IMG_0590

Bill Tilman’s Simple Sailing

Like an ostrich on a bad day, I’m head-down in the lazarette of Nellie, my Beneteau First 42, dealing with the propane tank. My wife taps me on the shoulder, and I rise to see a pair of foiling catamarans accelerating onto their carbon-fiber wings. As the blood drains from my ...read more

01-LEAD-210801_PM_Tokyo20_22825_5540

Olympic Sailing: Where to Now?

It’s official, not only is the United States no longer an Olympic power when it comes to sailing, it’s fast beginnings look like an also-ran—albeit an also-ran with loads of potential. What other conclusion is there to draw from the fact that for the second time in three ...read more

244526945_394104495768313_1401658800642145082_n

Return of the Annapolis Boat Show

After a hiatus in 2020, the United States Boat Show in Annapolis, Maryland returned in full force last weekend. “Pent up demand” was the name of the game for visitors and exhibitors alike. Queues to get in each morning stretched around the block, and the docks were congested ...read more

Untitled-1

Sailing Hall of Fame Inducts Class of 2021

This weekend, the National Sailing Hall of Fame has inducted eleven new members to make up the class of 2021. “The remarkable achievements of this year’s class exemplify excellence and an unwavering dedication to our sport,” said National Sailing Hall of Fame president Gus ...read more